Archive for the ‘Dallas Cowboys’ Category


Stiltz:
Ush, let’s start with the NFC East, one of the more talked about divisions in the NFL. There is always a lot of hype around the NFC East but lately it has been a battle of mediocrity. Let’s take a look at last season’s standings:
Philly 10-6
Dallas 8-8
NYG 7-9
Washington 3-13

2014 Schedule: NFC West(GIANT RED FLAG!!!!!!!!!! Potential four losses), AFC South
Eagles:
Last year was Chip Kelly’s first year in the NFL, and it was a successful transition for the former Duck. The Eagles will come out even faster this year, in my opinion, now that they are in year two of Chip’s system. Also, Chip is starting to build a team with his guys.
Even though they lost one of their stars in DeSean Jackson, they added some young blood in Matthews and Huff. Also, they made a nice trade acquiring Darren Sproles who should fit perfectly into Chip’s system. A concern for me is the Eagles’ secondary, they really didn’t get better this offseason. I’m not sure if Chip is trying to offset his subpar secondary with a strong front seven that will put a lot of pressure on the QB, but they need to be better this year. Last year they were ranked 32nd against the pass whereas they were a top ten team in rushing and passing offense, and rushing defense.

Dallas:
Dallas had a nice run at 8-8 the last couple of years and now it is time for a rebuild. They have some cap issues and really need to getter better through drafting and developing if they want to return to glory. I don’t know if Jerry will ever have patience for that, but that’s how the old Cowboys dynasty was built and it’s their only chance to get back in the playoffs.
Romo is coming off a back injury and fans are still coming off a disappointing draft that had the world holding its collective breath in anticipation of a potential JFF arrival into Jerry world. Is this a sign of Jerry changing? Nahhhh, he still has his hand up Jason Garrett’s ass as he controls the team from the owner’s box. After being stripped from playcalling duties, I would have just left if I was Garrett. This roster screams 4 wins to me. An already weak defense, suffered a major loss in Sean Lee and I don’t know where the playmaking will come from. Like always Romo will have a lot of pressure on his back, let’s hope it holds up.

New York GIANTS:
The Giants, can anybody figure them out? Everybody thought they were lulling us into their usual trap as a notorious late starter….just make it into the playoffs and then we’ll show up. Eli was the anti-Peyton last year and seemed on a mission to throw 50 interceptions. He ended up throwing 27! But still, he scares the hell out of all opponents in crunch time.
The Giants D should be even better this year, and their offense HAS to be better if they want to make the playoffs. Their O-line was atrocious last season and their running game was non-existent. I expect Eli to have a better year and like the addition of Beckham Jr., Rashad Jennings, and Rodgers-Cromartie. The Giants will surely need their Bye week in week 8 to prepare for a brutal three game schedule of home vs the Colts, @Seattle, and back home for the Niners. Seattle and the Niners in consecutive weeks, the football gods took a nice steamy dump on the city of New Yoooooorrk. Hey, at least they have two titles in the past 10 years.

Washington:
I love the hire of Gruden, and expect big things from their offense this year. RG3 obviously rushed back from his injury and he should be closer to the 2012 version that ignited the NFL world. He missed a lot of throws in the pocket last year, and it was hard to watch at times. He seems like a perfectionist, so there should be no reason for a repeat of that stinker. They gave up so much to get him in the draft and if he is not playing like an All-Pro they have ZERO chance.
The Redskins didn’t have a draft pick until the second round and they drafted some O-lineman to beef up that line. They really tried to add some defensive playmakers in free agency with Hatcher and Porter, in addition to the big signing of DJax. The Redskins have a formidable receiving corps now, and RG3 has no reason not to succeed. The Bengals offense rolled with Andy Dalton behind center, so I’m expecting the Redskins to be in the top 10 easily this year.
Prediction:
Eagles 10-6*
Redskins 9-7
Giants 6-10
Cowboys 4-12
*Playoff team

Tough pull for the NFC East, playing the NFC West is no easy task. I expect the Eagles to be better this year, even though their record remains the same. 10-6 is no reason to be ashamed. They would be in the driver’s seat again hosting a playoff game in January. What do you see happening in the NFC East this year, Ush?

USH:
Stiltz, great start to the NFL previews, and we agree for sure on the NFC East. I think this will almost certainly be an Eagles/Redskins race for the division, and I’m not sure why but as of now I’m going to give the nod to the Redskins here.

I really feel as though this division race can be decided by one or two key injuries for either team. These are especially of concern given the fact that these teams have to face the hard hitting, pain inflicting defenses of the NFC West. I’m giving the nod to the Redskins because of the new hire, and the impact that it will have on RG3. A blind man could see that RG3 and the Shanahan family had issues before, and even though they were able to say the right things in the media most of the time, the weight and impact of that relationship on their quarterback had to be extremely taxing, both on and off the field. Having a supportive and quarterback friendly coach is going to take RG3 to the next level this year. (Adding Desean Jackson doesn’t hurt)

So, this means that I have the Eagles coming in the two spot, but I do think they will compete for the lone wildcard spot left after the NFC West runner-up claims one. I could see it being the Eagles/NFC South runner-up vying for this spot, and it will really depend on Chip’s offense pulling one or two games out against their non conference opponents from the West. I’m still not sold on Chip’s philosophy that his system is greater than the parts, and that he can plug and play whoever into his system and still be successful. I don’t think there are enough playmakers at WR and TE to stress the great defenses they will face, and think that may be where they struggle. **For what it’s worth, I REALLY like the young kid Matthews, but think he needs a year or two before he’s ready to be an impact player against the best defenses in the league**

What is there to say about the Giants? I think their entire season boils down to the OL. If the OL can protect Eli, then Eli doesn’t get happy feet. If Eli doesn’t get happy feet, Eli doesn’t throw 4 picks a game and single-handedly sabotage my FFL work league. With the additions of OBJ and Rashaad Jennings, the Giants offense has plenty of fire power, but they’ll need the horses up front to play well.

I anticipate a fire sale happening in Dallas this year. Their, shall we say generous, defense will be even more so with the loss of Sean Lee to injury, and the departure of DeMarcus Ware to the Broncos, but who knows, maybe some unheralded young guys with massive chips on their shoulder will step in and be the feel good stories of the year leading the Dallas defense. (Don’t hold your breath) The offense will be among the highest producers for points and yards, but that will be mostly because they’re often playing from behind and Romo is throwing it 50 times a game. That’ll be an issue with his surgically repaired back standing back their susceptible to hits. I don’t anticipate the Cowboys approaching .500 this year, and think it’s entirely possible that Jason Garret is gone before the season is over.

Well that’s the NFC East, crazy how this division once dictated success in the league and it sure feels like one of the weaker divisions in the league this year.

Flacco after signing his 100 million dollar contract

Flacco after signing his 100 million dollar contract

We all know the value placed on the Quarterback in today’s league, however are they actually worth shelling over 100 million dollar contracts. You don’t win the Super Bowl by being good on one side of the ball. Only complete teams can take home the ultimate prize and with a salary cap of $120 million some teams are giving about 17% to their QB position alone. Now franchise quarterbacks will get you in the playoffs consistently, but that also keeps your draft stock towards the bottom of the first round as well. That means you have to be really lucky drafting the right personnel in order to eliminate possible deficiencies. Also if your franchise Quarterback happens to get hurt(this is football people), your team is suddenly the worst in the division **wink wink Green Bay**.

Packers fans watching their season coming crashing down

If you take a look at Super Bowl champions the past few years, there is usually a Quarterback who is playing above his contract. Here are the list of Super Bowl winning QBs the past 10 seasons, only 7 names! All of these Quarterbacks listed weren’t getting SUPERSTAR money, but they were playing at a superstar level.

*Tom Brady X 2 (=’03,=’04)* WAS PLAYING ON A CONTRACT JUST OVER $30 MILLION, IT WAS HIS FIRST CONTRACT FOLLOWING HIS ROOKIE DEAL. HE SIGNED AN EXTENSION AFTER THESE TWO SUPER BOWL WINS, IN 2005, FOR AROUND 48.5 MILLION GIVING HIM ABOUT $12.5 MILLION/YEAR, EXTREMELY MODEST FOR A THREE-TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION.

*Eli Manning X 2 (’07,’11)* SIGNED AN EXTENSION IN 2009

*Big Ben X 2 (’05,’08)* SIGNED AN EXTENSION IN 2008

*Peyton Manning (’06)* WAS PLAYING ON A 7 YEAR/98 MILLION EXTENSION FOLLOWING HIS ROOKIE DEAL IN 2003. MAKING AROUND 14.5 MILLION/YEAR, NOT DETRIMENTAL TO A TEAM’S CAP.

*Drew Brees (’09)* SIGNED NEW MEGA CONTRACT IN 2012

*Aaron Rodgers (’10)* WAS PLAYING WELL ABOVE AN EXTENSION HE SIGNED IN HIS FIRST YEAR AS A STARTER FOLLOWING HIS ROOKIE DEAL. SIGNED NEW MEGA CONTRACT IN 2013

*Joe Flacco (=9112)* SIGNED NEW MEGA CONTRACT IN 2013

Now let’s take a look at the highest paid QBs in the league.  You’ll be surprised by the names on this list and how all of these guys are getting paid more than Tom Brady.

*Aaron Rodgers $22 million/year (5 years/110 mil signed 2013)

*Joe Flacco $20.1 million/year (6 years/ 120 mil signed 2013)

*Drew Brees  $20 million/year (5 years/100 mil signed 2012)

*Peyton Manning $19.2 million/year (5 year/96 mil signed 2012)

Tony Romo $18 million/year (6 years/108 mil signed in 2013)

*Eli Manning $16.25 million/year (extension in 2009 6 years $97.5 million)

Philip Rivers $15.5 million/year (extension in 2012 4 years $93 million)

Matt Schaub $15.4 million/year (extension in 2012 4 years $62 million)

Mark Sanchez $13.5 million/year (extension in 2012 3 years $40.5 million)

Sam Bradford $13 million/year (6 years $78 million signed in 2010)

*Big Ben $12.75 million/year (extension in 2008 8 years $102 million)

Matthew Stafford $12.25 million/year (6 years $73.5 million signed in 2009)

*Tom Brady $11.4 million/year (5 years $57 million extension in 2013)

*Denotes Super Bowl winning QB

Pretty remarkable, right? Tom Brady is one of the only QBs deserving of $20 million/year, but instead restructures his contract to keep his team competitive. How is he rewarded? Welker doesn’t get resigned and he’s left with a group of misfits on Offense. However the point is Brady gets it, unlike most of these other Quaterbacks who are just out for a payday regardless of the negative effects on the team in the long run. Specifically, Peyton Manning signed the biggest deal of his career following major neck surgeries. I get that he was the most coveted free agent of all time, but it really limits your team’s ability to improve anywhere else.

Manning is aware of all the critics and haters, so why wouldn’t his main goal be to win more Super Bowls. By taking on a boatload of a contract, Manning showed that he is just out there for himself. He is already making a ton of money off of sponsors: Papa Johns, Direct TV, Buick?? Peyton Manning, one of the best commercial athletes, doesn’t need the money. As a result, this Denver team isn’t making the Super Bowl. They have a nice offense but aren’t going to be stopping anybody on defense. I think they’ll get eliminated in the divisional round…..again. “At least he got all those records”-Peyton supporters

The NOODLE! Look away Broncos Fans

The biggest contract up there without a Super Bowl ring on his resume is Tony Romo. He just signed a 6 year extension for over 100 million, which would mean he is going to be 39 at the end of the deal. He is about to have back surgery and is notorious for late season/game collapses. The Cowboys defense was abysmal this season and they could use all the help they can get. They do have the benefit of being the richest franchise in the NFL but are limited thanks to Jerry Jones, GM/Owner/Wannabe Head Coach/Motivational Speaker/Narcissist/Living in the Past/Visionary/Puppet Master/Forever in debt to the Vikings and Herschel Walker/More importantly indebted for life to Jimmy Johnson/Jimmy Johnson Fan/Still Misses Jimmy Johnson/The guy who fired Tom Landry/Mr. Ego/71 Year old Man but I used to play football at the college level/Did you hear I played football once, I was a RB & Offensive lineman in my day…….Jerry Jones everybody!

JERRY JONES!!!!!

If we follow this trend, then we have a lot of intriguing Super Bowl picks based off of this theory. In the AFC: Cincy- Even though we have talked about how much we are against Dalton leading this team to the Super Bowl, they are stacked on both sides of the ball and special teams. If Dalton were to somehow get hot ala Flacco last year, this team could cruise to the Super Bowl. Indy- Andrew Luck is on the 2nd year of his rookie deal and big paydays are in his future, but this team fits the mold of recent champs.  NE-Brady’s modest salary allows the team a lot of flexibility, and they find ways to get it done. They went to the Super Bowl with the worst ranked defense! KC- Alex Smith’s new deal is nothing special, but I don’t think he is a Quarterback who will ever got hot unless he gets in a time machine and trades spots with Aaron Rodgers the night of the draft and sweated out that first round on National Television.

Birth of Aaron Rodgers, Photobomber extraordinaire

In the NFC there are four teams as well: Seattle/San Fran- For the same reasons as Indy, but both teams have way better defenses and running games. Russell Wilson is in his rookie deal and I’m sure he’ll have a nice payday eventually.  This theory really suits Seattle and San Francisco the most, if either of them win the Super Bowl it has a lot to do with their ability to build a complete roster without being constrained by a major QB contract. Philly-Nick Foles, rookie deal. Carolina- Cam is another player on his way to getting a big deal, especially if he makes a run during the Playoffs(SO WIN NOW).

Let’s look at the franchise QBs in the playoffs- Manning, Brady, Brees, Rivers, Rodgers

Manning- Discussed above- see defense

Brady- Discussed above, like their chances of getting to another Super Bowl in a wide open AFC.

Brees- A team that is good on both sides of the ball, the only problem is they let home-field advantage slip away. Terrible road team and Brees has never won a playoff game on the road.

Rivers- Questionable defense and its pretty unrealistic they make it to the Super Bowl and win. I guess crazier things have happened.

Rodgers- A team that relies on drafting and developing players. They have a lot of holes in their defense, the addition of a running game makes this Packers team different than the past few years. They could get hot like 2010, and if they continue causing turnovers could end up in the Super Bowl totally defunking all of this time I spent writing this. **OF COURSE I’M ALL FOR THIS ONE ACTUALLY HAPPENING, HELLLLLOOOO***

How can you blame these players for wanting to get paid as much as possible anyway? The Owners are the ones making all the money, but refuse to hash it out accordingly(like smart businessmen). These huge Quarterback contracts aren’t good for the league and I’m sure they cause some tension in the locker room amongst players. Maybe these issues will be worked out during the next strike/CBA. In the meantime, we’ll continue to enjoy high scoring games and coming up with theories on Super Bowl contenders.

Randall “Stiltz”

 

Illegal Formation

San Diego Vs Kansas City

Kansas City knows what Bolts fans have been saying all year and that is they win all the games against good opponents and lose the games they should win. By that logic, Kansas City benches their starters and the Chargers almost blow their chance to get in the playoffs! But seriously, the Chiefs had this game and it all slipped away. A lot of talk today about the illegal formation by the Chargers that was never called. Refs miss calls, but I’m sure there are a lot of angry Steelers fans out there because of this.

San Francisco Vs Arizona

Great game capped off by this sick catch by Quinton Patton with 22 seconds left to set up the game winning field goal for San Fran.

Amazing catch by Patton

Dallas Vs Philly

A game that Dallas controlled for the most point, only to succumb to turnovers…….again. Costly turnovers in the first half by players not named Romo(Murray and Witten)allowed Philly to have a nice lead going into halftime. Both of those turnovers went straight into Philly’s defenders hands, is there a team with worse luck than the Cowboys (Don’t answer that Cleveland). I loved the way DeMarco has run the ball the entire year, he did not want to go home last night. DeMarchoo choo Murray everybody:

DeMarchoo Choo Murray

You knew this game was going to come down to the wire no matter what because the football gods love messing with Cowboys fans, Orton pulls a Romo with a game ending interception. Hats off to Dallas who played a hell of a game. Great offense all year, terrible defense. Expect Kiffin to be fired and for Dallas to return to it’s 3-4 ways next year.

Do the Romo **da da da da da da da da da da**

Green Bay Vs Chicago

Longest rivalry in the NFL lived up to its billing. Everything just seems to be going the Packers way as of late, including the craziest touchdown of the year.

One of the oddest TDs you’ll ever see

Rodgers was able to shake off some early miscues and make one of the biggest passes of his career. All out blitz by the Bears on 4th and 8, Rodgers is able to elude Peppers thanks to a solid chip block by Kuhn and hit a wide open Cobb for the game winning TD. I don’t know if Rodgers will get enough credit for this throw, he is scrambling to his left and throws an off balance 50 yarder to Cobb. Questionable call of the day goes to Mike McCarthy for electing not to go for two early in the 4th, a call that almost came back to haunt the Packers.

THAAAAA COBBBBBBBLEEEERR IS BACK

Welcome back Randall

Randall Cobb said after the game he saw the safety was flat footed and knew he had him beat deep so he threw his hand in the air right away. Even though Cobb has been out 10 weeks and Rodgers 7, the chemistry is still strong with this duo. Packers fans will remember this play for a loooooooong time, I couldn’t believe my eyes when there was a wide open Randall Cobb streaking down the field. Glad to see my son Randall isn’t cursed either.

Last but not least, it was Tony Gonzalez’s final game in the NFL.

Thank you Tony!

Not the season he came back for, but he still gave it his all like a true professional. There is no doubt that he could have played another three years with this kind of productivity, the guy is a machine. Tony finished his 17th year with 83 rec 859 yds 8 TDs

Career Stats:

1325 Rec 15,127 yds 111 TDs

For a Tight End to finish in the TOP 6 for all of these categories is just insane. Tony will be missed, one of the greatest of all time.

2nd ALL TIME IN RECEPTIONS BEHIND JERRY RICE

5th ALL TIME IN RECEPTION YARDS

6th ALL TIME IN RECEIVING TDs